Packers Snap Counts: Graham makes big difference despite limited playing time
Jimmy Graham’s impact on the Packers’ offense hasn’t exactly lived up to the three-year deal worth $30 million he signed before the 2018 season.
After finding the end zone just twice last season, Graham ranked fifth on the Packers in receiving yards in 2019 — behind the inconsistent Marquez Valdes-Scantling and even running back Aaron Jones.
His role had been decreasing all season, and it culminated into a season-low 24 snaps during Sunday’s 28-23 postseason win over the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field.
Meanwhile, third-round pick Jace Sternberger, who entered Sunday’s game without a single NFL catch, was on the field for a career-high 28 plays.
Despite the season-low snaps (and season-low snap percentage at 38%), Graham had his most notable performance of the year. He caught three passes for 49 yards on four targets. While that’s not exactly an eye-popping stat line, all three catches came in big moments.
Graham’s first catch went for 13 yards on a third-and-8 from Seattle’s 36-yard line in the first quarter. That drive resulted in a 20-yard Davante Adams touchdown.
Later in the third quarter, Rodgers went to Graham again on third down, this time a third-and-6 from Green Bay’s 29-yard line. Graham hauled it in for a 27-yard gain. Two plays later, Rodgers connected with Adams for a 40-yard score.
Graham saved his best for last.
The Packers faced a third-and-9 with two minutes to play. A first down would allow Green Bay to run out the rest of the clock, but if the Packers came up short, Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson would have about 1:55 to conduct a game-winning drive.
Rodgers threw to Graham once again, and the tight end caught it and dragged the ball across the 36-yard line for the first down. It was just enough to move the chains, and after kneeling the ball three times the Packers secured another trip to the NFC Championship game.
Other notes from Sunday’s snap counts:
— Za’Darius Smith played 57 of the Packers’ 64 defensive snaps and tallied two sacks, one tackle for loss and four quarterback hits. It was his fifth game this year with 2+ sacks.
— Also picking up two sacks against Seattle was Preston Smith, who played 75% of the defensive snaps.
— Geronimo Allison was on the field for 20 plays (31%) and was targeted just once. It was a big catch, however, as Allison hauled it in for 11 yards and moved the chains on third-and-10 in the fourth quarter.
— Also absent in the Packers’ passing game was Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who played all of five snaps. Valdes-Scantling played over 75% of the snaps five times this season.
— More notes from the wide receiver position: Jake Kumerow played the second-most snaps among all wide receivers with 30 (47%), behind Davante Adams (92%). However, he was targeted just once and didn’t record a catch.
SNAP COUNTS: PLAYOFF GAME 1 VS. SEAHAWKS (OFFENSE)
SNAP COUNTS: PLAYOFF GAME 1 VS. SEAHAWKS (DEFENSE)